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New York City, New York, United States

Wall Street and Financial District Walking Tour

Walk along famous Wall Street in New York City and explore one of largest financial centers in the world

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.7 miles / 1.1 km
Duration: Half day
Overview: Wall Street is at the heart of the New York City financial district in the north of old New Amsterdam; it is named for a wooden wall that was built to keep out the British.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries the area became a main residential street. Due to the economic success of the nearby port, the ground floors of homes were converted into businesses with stores and banks to facilitate--and take advantage of--the many commercial dealings in the area.

In the 1830s, the houses were replaced by banks and the U.S. Customs House; the financial buildings literally grew from there. It soon became the home of the city's first skyscrapers because it was the only way to add more floor space while still remaining in the financial center of the city.

Today Wall Street is home to some of the largest financial institutions in the country and the world, as well as the New York Stock Exchange. This tour will take you on a journey through the financial district, explaining the history of several important buildings, and finishing at the "Charging Bull" statue and Bowling Green, New York's oldest public park.

Points of Interest


Federal Reserve Bank of New York

This building is one of 12 Federal Reserve Bank branches created in 1913 in an effort to regulate U.S. currency and stabilize the country's economy. The building is built much like a fortress, symbolizing the security of the bank reserves deep inside. The vault doors weigh as much as 90 tons and are about five floors below street level as another protective measure.

Address: 33 Liberty Street
Phone: 646-720-5000

Free tours are available Monday-Friday (not holidays) and are 45 minutes long.

Site of the World Trade Center

This was once the site of the World Trade Center, which consisted of seven buildings symbolizing the heart of New York finance; they were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The two most prominent and famous buildings were the twin towers. When these towers were originally built, they were the tallest buildings in the world.

Construction of a new World Trade Center, consisting of five new skyscrapers (including Freedom Tower) and other structures is under way and scheduled to be complete in 2015. Among the new buildings will be a permanent memorial and museum dedicated to the nearly 3,000 victims and first responders who died on September 11, 2001 and on February 26, 1993. Additionally, there will be the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, a retail complex, and a performing arts center. Today you can walk around the large city block to see the ongoing construction and experience how massive this site is.

There is also a WTC Visitors Center open 7 days a week nearby (120 Liberty St at the site's south border), where according to the website, "visitors can view exhibits, join walking tours, make donations, and hear personal stories about the events" of 9/11/01 and 02/26/93.

There is also the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site (20 Vesey St), which is open 7 days a week and provides visitors with an overview and current update of the plans and progress of Memorial and Museum that are under construction. On September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the attacks, the 9/11 Memorial will be dedicated in a ceremony for victims's families. The Memorial will open to the public on the following day (September 12, 2011), but given limited space and ongoing construction nearby, members of the public will need to reserve a pass to visit. Please see the 911Memorial website to reserve a pass online or call 212-266-5200 if you have any trouble with the online system.

Trinity Church and Cemetery

Trinity Church is an Anglican church that was built in the 19th century; it is the third church to be built at this location. The church was built in the Gothic style with influences from 14th century European cathedrals. Pay particular attention to the medieval stained-glass windows and the ornate bronze doors.

Address: Broadway and Wall Street

New York Stock Exchange

The New York Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in the world, based on market cap.

The Roman-temple style of this building may remind you of nearby Federal Hall; its form emphasizes the powerful role of commerce and finance in New York City.
Address: 11 Wall St.

Note: Since 9/11/01, the NYSE no longer conducts tours.

14 Wall St./Bankers Trust

Across from the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Hall, this building was originally named the Bankers Trust Co. Building and was the headquarters of Bankers Trust. It was built between 1910-1912 and was the world's tallest bank building at the time at 539 feet, however, the bank occupied only the bottom three floors.

At one time U.S. financier J.P. Morgan owned the 31st floor, but it was later converted to a French restaurant called the 14 Wall Street. The building remains a symbol of Wall Street and capitalism.
14 Wall St.

Federal Hall National Memorial

The Federal Hall National Memorial has gone through several changes in its lifetime, both in structure and function. The first building was built on the same property, which was once the old city hall. It was here that George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States before the building was torn town and replaced by a larger building.

The current building was built in 1836 in the Greek style to symbolize country's strong belief in democracy. Once again, the building's tenants outgrew its capacity and it was converted into a subtreasury in the 1920s before the Federal Reserve Bank was opened.

Today it is a national monument popular with tourists.

Address: 26 Wall Street (corner of Wall and Nassau Streets)
Phone: (212) 825-6990

Tours: there are both self-guided and guided tours.
Admission: Free

The Trump Building

This 70-story skyscraper was originally known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, but today is the called the Trump Building.

Construction began in 1928 with the goal of making it the tallest building in the world at 840 feet. At the time that title belonged to the Chrysler Building (838 feet). To clinch the record, the architects redesigned the Manhattan Trust and added three additional floors to make it 927 feet tall. That did make it the tallest building in the world in May 1930 when it was completed.

Unfortunately, the architects of the Chrysler Building weren't about to give up the title so easily. They erected a 125-foot spire on top of the Chrysler Building, reclaiming the title as the tallest building in the world on May 28, 1930. Manhattan Trust lasted less than a month at No. 1.

There was a debate over whether the spire counted in the competition, since 40 Wall St. had the highest usable floor, but all was put to rest when the Empire State Building was completed in 1931 at 1,250 feet, claiming the title.
40 Wall St.

Deutsche Bank

This building is a 55-story skyscraper and home to the American headquarters of Deutsche Bank. It is more modern than its neighbors, having been built between 1987 and 1989 as the headquarters for what is now JPMorgan Chase.
66 Wall St.

'Charging Bull' Sculpture

The "Charging Bull" sculpture was created by Arturo Di Modica and represents a bull market economy. The sculpture was first placed in front of the New York Stock Exchanged but was moved to the Bowling Green, where it has been ever since.

It's a popular place for tourists to snap photos; you may wait all day to take a shot without others in front of it.

Location: 26 East Broadway, Bowling Green Park


Bowling Green

The Bowling Green is a small park just south of the "Charging Bull" sculpture and is the oldest public park in New York City, built in 1733. It lies next to the original location of the Dutch fort of New Amsterdam.

Location: Broadway and Beaver Street
Pictures in this guide taken by: chris, Dycker, ramananp
Although the Federal Reserve Bank tour is free, you still need to get tickets (only available online) in advance.
Visited on May 06, 2013

by on May 06, 2013

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